The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) oversees the registration of trademarks.
They divide trademarks into 45 different classes, allowing businesses to register their trademark into a category most related to their product or service.
In this article, we’ll cover Trademark Class 12, which broadly protects products such as vehicles, motors, and engines for all types of land, air, and water locomotion.
Registering a Class 12 Trademark
If you’re starting a small business, you should remember to register your intellectual properties associated with this business as a trademark.
You can register any distinctive name, slogan, symbol, service, good, or product as a trademark.
By registering a trademark, you are legally preventing other businesses from imitating your brand.
However, trademarks only apply to intellectual properties within the same class.
For this reason, two companies with the same name can exist, as long as they aren’t registered within the same trademark class.
When you register, you’ll be asked which class your trademark falls under.
Be sure to list any classes to which your good or service belongs.
You can register your trademark online here, though we recommend that you hire a lawyer to help you with the process.
What is a Class 12 Trademark?
The World Intellectual Property Organization, and by extension the USPTO, outlines a specific list of goods which fall under Class 12.
While this list is quite extensive, these goods generally center around vehicles and apparatus used to transport people by land, air, or water.
We’ll outline some of the most common examples of Class 12 trademark goods below.
Vehicles and Conveyances
As stated, Class 12 includes any and all vehicles used for transportation via land, water, and air.
This includes but is not limited to aerial conveyors, air cushion vehicles, chairlifts, golf carts, shopping carts, sleighs, wagons, and wheelbarrows.
Sports cars, motor coaches, motorcycles, tractors, airplanes, parachutes and trailers are also included under this class.
Parts and Fittings for Vehicles
Transportation parts and accessories are also covered under this class.
This includes but is not limited to anti-glare devices, axles, upholstery for vehicles, windows for vehicles, steering wheels, brake segments, turbines, and undercarriages.
Hoods for baby carriages, headrests, headlights, windshield wipers, and automobile sun blinds are also covered by Class 12.
Similarly, bicycles and all related accessories such as bells, baskets, and lights are also in this class.
Wheels, Tires, and Tracks
Wheels, tires, and tracks for vehicles on land, water, or air fall within this class as well.
This includes bicycle tires, flanges for railway tires, railway tires, hub caps, inner tubes for bicycles, wheel rims, spokes for bicycles, and valves for vehicle tires.
Anti-theft, Security, and Safety Devices
If your business involves devices pertaining to security, safety, or preventing theft, and goes on or in a vehicle, then it most likely falls in Class 12 as well.
This includes but is not limited to air bags, anti-theft alarms for cars, ejector seats, horns, reversing alarms, safety belts, and safety seats for children.
What’s Not Covered Under Class 12?
Some products related to vehicles are not covered under Class 12.
If you are unsure of which class you should register your trademark under, you may want to consider these related classes as well:
- Class 6 (Common Metals and Raw Materials)
- Class 7 (Machines and Non-Vehicular Engines)
- Class 37 (Construction and Repair Services)
In addition, you can’t register a trademark if there’s already a similar one registered under the same class.
For this reason, you’ll want to do a thorough search of the USPTO database to find out if your potential trademark is already in use.
It’s also a good idea to hire an attorney to perform a thorough trademark search and report the results to you.
The USPTO does not offer assistance in searching for similar marks, so hiring a lawyer before submitting your application is recommended.
What Does a Trademark Do?
If you fail to defend your trademark against infringement, then you could potentially lose it.
It’s up to you as the trademark holder to file suit against people who create consumer confusion by using your mark, or a very similar mark in your industry.
In addition, holding a registered trademark can prevent “unfair competition,” a term that includes imitations, knock offs, and other forms of unauthorized selling.
This term also includes malicious imitation.
Generally, there must be actual confusion to claim trademark infringement.
However, if you don’t want to abandon your trademark, then you may want to still defend your trademark even in cases of minimal confusion.
Certain types of trademark use are considered fair use, despite being unauthorized.
This means that the other party is acting in a legal manner not likely to result in confusion of your trademark with theirs.
Claiming that one service is superior to another is an example of a fair use (“nominative use,” to be specific.)
Likewise, parodies are usually fair use.
As with any new project, your best bet is to do as much research as possible before registering your trademark.
Searching the USPTO’s database and hiring a lawyer to help will be incredibly helpful down the road.
Protecting against trademark infringement is a long, ongoing process.
Filing the paperwork to renew your trademark is also an important thing to keep in mind.
If you don’t renew your trademark, then you will abandon it.
Luckily, an experienced trademark lawyer can make it easier to protect your intellectual property at minimal cost.